Here’s some ideas for gifts that will continue to inspire long after the chanukiah has been put away. Bling that bridges faith and fashion, a DVD from a local yoga instructor and a Western Wall locket from an Agoura Hills jewelry designer are a few ideas from Southern California and beyond that can make shopping for family and friends easier.
Los Angeles designer Ellen Hart offers an alternative to the tired “status bag” with CareerBags (http://www.careerbags.com), featuring handbags, clutches, laptop bags, messenger bags, babybags and yoga/pilates bags. The Veronica London Wirkin Carpet Bag for laptops, above, retails for $140. Julie Lazarus, meanwhile, designs handbags based on the notion that style should never be sacrificed. Check out her 100 percent vegan handbag collection Vivi by Elezar ($194-$408, http://www.elezar.com or at Royal Dutchess in Studio City).
Stella Rubinshteyn has created a treasure trove of mommy must-haves with Tivoli Couture (http://www.tivolicouture.com), including Cuddle Bottle Blankets ($12), iComfort Eye Pillows ($18), Bandana Binky Bibs ($20) and Luxury Reversible Stroller Liners ($80, $130 for memory foam version) to avoid tired tushies.
Those who wear their hearts on their sleeves, or anyplace where a message can fit on a T-shirt, will appreciate designs by Los Angeles-based Awareables ($26-$32, http://www.awareables.com).
Jewtina ($20-$25, http://www.jewtina.com), founded by Adriana Lopez and daughter, Breanna, is another clever T-shirt line for folks of all ages in the Jewish Latino community.
And The Jewish Zodiac (http://www.jewzo.com) takes the animals of Chinese astrology and replaces them with New York deli favorites. Born in the Year of the Dog? Fuhgeddaboudit. Now you’re the Year of the Blintz. T-shirts ($18-$20), infant onesies ($20) and other Jewish Zodiac products make this a fun, personal gift for family and friends.
Rock Your Religion (http://www.rockyourreligion.com) combines ancient religious symbols with a rock star infusion, offering a Star of David as a necklace pendant ($100) or mounted on a hand-crafted Italian leather cuff ($125).
Whether capturing today’s business meetings or baby’s first words, dad will find himself all the more prepared for what life throws at him with the handheld digital stereo recorder, the Zoom H2 ($199, http://www.samsontech.com, also available at Best Buy and Amazon.com), which is compatible with both PC and Mac, can hold a 16-gigabyte SD card and features an on-board chromatic guitar/bass tuner.
If you are hoping to give (or get) inspiration this holiday, look toward the wisdom of Abby Lentz, who imparts hope and spirit with her “Heavyweight Yoga” DVD ($25, http://www.heavyweightyoga.com), making the calming effects of yoga available to everybody and every body. A healing compliment to Lentz’s message and mission is “I Am Not a Mess” ($20, http://www.iamnotamess.com), a yoga DVD focused on health and recovery of body, mind and spirit created by Hillary Rubin, who was diagnosed with MS in 1996 and teaches at L.A.‘s City Yoga.
The Wish Locket by Agoura Hills-based Monica Nabati goes the distance from fashionable to meaningful by providing you with a Kotel you can keep close to your heart, among other designs ($56, plus $8 for additional engraving). Simply write out your hopes, dreams or prayers, fold the paper and insert it into the locket. Available at http://www.wishlocket.com, Audrey’s Museum Gift Shop/Skirball Cultural Center, Raffia (Agoura Hills), Raw Style (Santa Monica), Beit Judaica (Agoura Hills) and Temple Alyiah Gift Shop (Woodland Hills).
Keep the conversation interesting past dreidels and sufganiyot with the Scene It? games ($40, http://www.scenelifegames.com). The Seinfeld Edition gives players a chance to relive their favorite “Seinfeld” moments from each of the show’s nine seasons. Kids can school their elders on everything cool with the Disney Channel Edition, featuring clips and trivia from “Hannah Montana,” “High School Musical,” “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody,” “Wendy Wu” and more. Given ($30, http://www.givengame.org), meanwhile, brings soul to the board game experience. Move Jerusalem stone pieces from Egypt to Israel, and along the way learn important lessons about tzedakah (charity), while fielding questions about Jewish history, holidays, food, prayers and a long list of influential Jews.
Pitch the baseball fan in your life a Major League dose of history with the 2008 edition of the Jewish Major Leaguers baseball cards ($35, available at Shalom House in Woodland Hills and at http://www.jewishmajorleaguers.org). Produced by the American Jewish Historical Society, the set bats .1000 with photos and facts of baseball’s greatest Jewish players. It also includes a special tribute to the 75th anniversary of Hank Greenberg’s rookie season. Once you’re on base, hit a home run with Bergino’s Judaica collection baseballs ($20-$25, http://www.bergino.com).